Killer Dames

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Review by David Paul Hellings

@HellingsOnFilm

“Arrow Video are thrilled to announce the release of Emilio P. Miraglia’s Italian giallo classics The Red Queen Kills Seven Times and The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave which premiere on dual format Blu-ray and DVD in this beautifully restored, limited edition collection released on 23rd May 2016.

At the height of the Italian giallo boom in the early 1970s, scores of filmmakers turned their hand to crafting their own unique takes on these lurid murder-mystery thrillers. This limited edition double pack features two distinctive offerings by Emilio P. Miraglia, which meld twisty whodunit narratives with gothic chills.

In The Red Queen Kills Seven Times, an age-old family curse hits sisters Kitty (Barbara Bouchet, Milano Calibro 9) and Franziska (Marina Malfatti) following the death of their grandfather Tobias (Rudolf Schündler, The Exorcist, Suspiria). Every hundred years, so the legend goes, the bloodthirsty Red Queen returns and claims seven fresh victims. Was Tobias just the first… and are Kitty and Franziska next?

Meanwhile, in The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave, troubled aristocrat Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen, Django the B*stard), haunted by the death of his first wife Evelyn, tries to move on by marrying the seductive Gladys (Marina Malfatti, All the Colours of the Dark). Marital bliss is short-lived, however, as various relatives meet untimely and gruesome deaths, prompting speculation that a vengeful Evelyn has risen from the grave…

With both films making their worldwide Blu-ray debuts in stunning new 2K restorations, there has never been a better time to explore these little-seen giallo gems!”

– via Arrow Video

Review:

We’ve come a long way since poor quality pirate VHS copies at film fairs as a way of seeing elusive giallo fare. Film collections are now finally brimming with classics with beautiful picture quality. And so director Emilio P Miraglia’s two ventures into the genre, “The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave” and “The Red Queen Kills Seven Times”, join the scene.

Miraglia’s duo are particularly interesting as they add a strong sense of the gothic to the giallo genre. The new 2K restorations bring the films back to life and the cinematography of Gastone Di Giavanni (“Evelyn”) and Anthony Spagnoli (“Red Queen”) into a pristine rendition that highlights the quality of their work.

Whilst “Evelyn” opts for the addition of sexploitation in its attempts to capitalise on the growing giallo market boom of the early ‘70s, “Red Queen” offers a higher art style including a running down a corridor scene that is genuinely creepy in a way not dissimilar to the infamous hospital corridor scene in “Exorcist 3”.

Both films reflect how directors, even so called ‘journeymen’ directors, visited and approached the sub genre with a different eye, resulting in works of surprising originality, no matter how obscure and lengthy the titles would be so as to capture the public’s attention.

The arrival of both of Miraglia’s films on blu ray is welcome indeed, the two titles having been long awaited as they remain amongst the strongest of the so-called ‘lesser’ giallos and are very different from one another. The initially and mostly unlikeable character of Alan Cunningham (Anthony Steffen) as the lead in “Evelyn” is poles apart as a protagonist from the presence of Barbara Bouchet as the woman in peril in “Red Queen”.

Both films are marked by flashbacks as we seek to discover the reality of the crimes, adding to the classic sense of the giallos of the early 70’s. Special features are extensive and informative, highlights including the superb Alan Jones and Kim Newman audio commentary on “Red Queen”, proving yet again that they are the go to experts and not only informative but often highly amusing. Sybil Danning’s new interview is also fascinating. The “Evelyn” highlights include Troy Howarth’s enlightening and fascinating commentary. There is also extensive archive material on both films.

This is another excellent release for giallo fans with clear, beautifully natural prints that bring both films to a new audience and established fans in their intended state. Another must buy.

Special Features

  • Limited Edition box set (3000 copies) containing The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times
  • Brand new 2K restorations of the films from the original camera negatives
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio (lossless DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray Discs)
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtracks
  • Limited Edition 60-page booklet containing new writing by James Blackford, Kat Ellinger, Leonard Jacobs and Rachael Nisbet

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE

  • New audio commentary by Troy Howarth
  • Exclusive introduction by actress Erika Blanc
  • Writer Stephen Thrower on The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave
  • The Night Erika Came Out of the Grave – exclusive interview with Erika Blanc
  • The Whip and the Body – archival interview with Erika Blanc
  • Still Rising from the Grave – archival interview with production designer Lorenzo Baraldi
  • Original Italian theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

THE RED QUEEN KILLS SEVEN TIMES

  • New audio commentary by Alan Jones and Kim Newman
  • Exclusive new interview with actress Sybil Danning
  • Writer Stephen Thrower on The Red Queen Kills Seven Times
  • Archival introduction by production/costume designer Lorenzo Baraldi
  • Dead à Porter – archival interview with Lorenzo Baraldi
  • Rounding Up the Usual Suspects – archival interview with actor Marino Masé
  • If I Met Emilio Miraglia Today – archival featurette with Erika Blanc, Lorenzo Baraldi and Marino Masé
  • My Favorite… Films – archival interview with actress Barbara Bouchet
  • Alternative opening
  • Original Italian theatrical trailer
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

This review originally appeared on http://www.sffworld.com at:

http://www.sffworld.com/2016/06/film-review-killer-dames/

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